At the Center of Detail

21th Trial: What do you see when you look at art?

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 0 hours

Weekly choice of tea: Pumpkin Spice Chai

Greatest Success:  Swam Three miles! I’ve got a couple more to go, then St. Croix open swim race here I come!

I see this portrait of a husky that Jamie painted, and already its image steadies itself within my mind. You understand art, or you search within other’s interpretations and understand theirs. Within a minute or an hour, the observation of art brings balance with its ability to create knowledge. Look at the Husky’s eyes, the colors of contrast within its mane, and you understand Jamie more. How she views the beauty of her art, how she creates beyond the boundaries of reality.

I find that the time I have spent away from my novel, I look at it as of a stranger’s painting on a wall. In a second I know it–as naturally, it has my strings! However, the question arises of what I am trying to create. Alas! What does happen when the artist puts the art brush down, only to then pick it up again? Creation will ensue, however to what cost? I already am itching to retrace my steps. I see what could be inserted into this section, or maybe an event could be placed between such-and-such paragraph to foreshadow where we are now. Like the painted accents of gold that fleck through the mane of the Husky, the artist must know when to start adding, editing, changing, and knowing when to stop. Already I have not yet concluded chapter four–it seems much too soon to go back now and focus on what could be inserted. I find that the most assure way to not re-edit the same passages a thousand times is to blunder forward, and once I know the conclusion (or course for that matter) of my novel, then can I bend and alter the scenes that have led up to it. I just hope that the words penetrate in the future as they do now, as if to hope the blue eyes of the dog maintain their mystery, or that the calm yellow around it’s eyes bring balance to the fierce reds of it’s fur.

What I see when I look at my novel may not be the understanding that years of progressing it will induce. I can only rely on my taste changing ten-fold as I weave through the lives of my characters, and allow the unfolding plot to give direction on how to retrace the path back to chapter one. Like this artwork, I see my story’s center. Yet I cannot tell how I will accent it, or exactly how much gold I should use. Placing detail where it ought not be can be very distracting, and bring failure to the finished artwork. Does the same apply to a novel? Can one add too much detail? My answer changes depending on who I cannel!

The Goldilocks of Dialogue

20th Trial: How much dialogue is too much? It is often that we say little more than we should and/or spew a great deal extra than should be allowed.

Weekly hours spent writing or in the pursuit of plot: 2.5 hours

Weekly choice of tea: Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Chai (pumpkin has come to Trader Joe’s!)

Greatest Success: At the White Water Center, I kicked away my fear of heights and accomplished the ropes courses and went rafting!!! It is a place in Charlotte where the USA team trains for the Olympics, and is open to the public. So a whole day was dedicated to outdoor adventures! Just a couple fun tid bits from this weekend:

There are so many times that while writing an interaction between two characters that I sit back and wonder, how on earth is this dialogue going to end? Do I continue down a casual road, such as person sits, stands, talks, pours tea–or just get straight to the point? There is such a talent that I am realizing with long dialogue. A whole paragraph of uninterrupted speech in which unrevealing occurs, but does not show absolutely everything, is a beast within itself! I admire the cool mysterious dialogue of Raymond Chandler, who wrote The Big Sleep, where after every word spoken the reader feels as if they are standing at the edge of a cliff, in absolute suspense of what it could mean and what it will result in. And on the other hand, the whimsical entertaining discussion of tapestries and who-wore-what-lace in Austen’s repartee has its own significant effects. In both circumstances, the dialogue is not too much or too less. I am Goldie Locks, tasting for what will be just right when it comes to the feel of my novel. And if anyone has ever read Goldilocks, you will hear the dialogue debate within my mind. This sentence is too short! This subject is not right for discussion! This soup is too hot!

On a short, different note, I am influenced more than I realized by what I am writing. I admit that I am a leech, taking in my surroundings and relying on the people I meet to propel my story forward. My imagination to this point has had to work very little. However, one scene I wrote that was not from my neighborhood–you could call it the “meet-cute”–was with my character hearing piano music from a neighboring household. The gorgeous melody will then naturally begin the strings of romance! Now you can understand my astonishment when I was leaving my apartment to take my dog on a walk, when I heard from another door the beautiful sound of a piano! I stopped, stunned by the situation. How brilliant! Not only do I take from my surroundings, but now my story seems to take form around me! And the music was indeed beautiful, just as I imagined in would be. I am happy to say that my story does not leave me, and reveals itself in senses and physical manifestations, as much as I will perceive it to.